The Best Beach Houses to Rent this Summer
Ocean View, Dungeness
A vision of vintage charm in perfect pink, this former fisherman’s cottage, packed full of foraged treasures and art, has a sitting room, a snug with pull out bed settee and the main bedroom which faces out towards the lighthouse. It’s the working home of artist Helen Gillilan who has a studio at the rear of the cottage. Dungeness has a strange, rather barren yet intriguing landscape with a unique micro-climate, making it a real haven for wildlife and plants, and great for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Open the door and you are onto the shingle beach. Soak up the sunsets from the cottage garden or wander along the beach which is part of the nature reserve. Plus, there’s plenty to do nearby: take a trip on the smallest passenger railway in the world as it steams past the cottage; historians will love the wartime Sound Mirrors in Romney Marsh, where you’ll also find the hugely popular family-run Pilot Inn renowned for its seafood and just a stone’s throw from the beach; whilst treasure hunters should head to nearby Rye for antiques.
The sleepy Cornish fishing village of Portwrinkle and its vast expanse of open ocean combine to provide the serenest of backdrops for this stunning beach house. Both innovative and visually striking, a wildflower grass roof and sleek glass frontage help this modern home merge into the landscape, and minimalist interiors of glossy whites and warm greys ensure the focus is all on the coastal views. Seriously cool yet down to earth, whether you are waking up to blue skies on glassy seas or relaxing on the sumptuous L-shaped sofas for dramatic evenings of storm-watching by the fire, every moment of the day (and the changing weather) is one to treasure. All about the coastal vistas, four glass-fronted ensuite bedrooms ensure no one misses out on a sea view. The nook at the bottom of the garden is the best spot for a surreptitious glass of bubbly at sunset, or jump into the hot tub perched on the clifftop, but to stretch your legs, steps lead from the house straight onto the footpath from where you will reach the quirkily named Finnygook Beach and sandy crescent of Hoodny Cove below the house. Just remember your swimsuits!
This unique, weather-boarded beach house is on the very edge of the award-winning Camber Sands in East Sussex. With its sloping roof and glassy expanses, and seas views from most of the rooms, Barefoot Beach House is good for the soul. Sandy footprints are trodden into the decking, where a fire pit invites guests to melt marshmallows and toast their toes with blankets over their knees as the evening breeze comes off the sea. Inside, it’s homey, with family photographs, beach-combed driftwood and reclaimed timbers. Take your pick from the four bedrooms but grown-ups should bag the bedroom in the eaves – it has the best view. Dogs (and kids) are welcome and can’t fail to love the sandy beach at the end of the garden. It’s unlikely you’ll want to move from here, but rather will fall into bed after a day digging on the sand. Should you feel the need to find new friends, there’s a great local pub just five minutes walk away, and nearby Rye has everything from organic butchers and delis to cafés and plenty of friendly pubs.
Harbour View, Whitby
While not strictly a beach house, we think you’ll forgive us when you see the unbeatable views across Whitby’s famous harbour as the boats bob about under the balcony. Sleeping nine in four bedrooms, with a large open-plan living space and two balconies, this is a great place to enjoy all the attractions of historic Whitby while staying out of the fray. History buffs will love the Captain Cook Museum, and the atmospheric ruined abbey which dominates the skyline and is believed to have inspired Bram Stokers’s Dracula. Foodies will want to make sure they try the Magpie’s world-famous fish and chips, and romantics will need to book a sunset cruise which departs from the harbour below the house and takes you up and down this beautiful stretch of Yorkshire coastline. There’s miles of sandy beaches to the north and south of the town, and the area is famous for its fossil hunting. Hire a paddleboard and take a leisurely evening paddle upstream on the River Eske from the harbour to the historic Grade II-listed Victorian viaduct, and if you time it right you might even see a steam train crossing the bridge overhead. Venture beyond the town and you are soon into the wilds of the North York Moors National Park.
Blue Moon Studio, Skye
From its fantastic cliff top location, Blue Moon Studio looks down on the pretty whitewashed cottages of the fishing village of Stein. The village was designed by the famous engineer Thomas Telford, and it’s where The Diver’s Eye boat trips, caught from the jetty, give you the best chance of spotting seals, dolphins and sea eagles. This detached studio apartment for two is at the head of Lochbay on the beautiful Waternish peninsular, in the magical north-west of Skye. The huge window makes the most of its location, looking out out across miles of sea and islands to the Outer Hebrides beyond. Open plan in design, the apartment has a quirky vibe with funky textiles and local artwork (host David made most of the soft furnishings himself), a cosy woodburner and plenty of decking outside where you can spend time soaking up the expanse of sea and sky on your doorstep. Nearby Dunvegan is where you’ll find Skye’s oldest bakery, cafés and restaurants and Dunvegan Castle. Restaurants worthy of note are the island’s oldest inn serving fabulous food at Lochaby Restaurant at Waternish, the Inn at Edinbane for evening meals and live traditional music and The Old School Restaurant in Dunvegan, which all come recommended by David.
Estuary Cottage, Alnmouth
This family-friendly cottage in one of Northumberland’s most popular seaside villages is just a few minutes from Alnmouth beach. Sleeping up to six guests, it has a cosy lounge, open-plan kitchen dining room and French windows leading out onto a large landscaped garden overlooking the boats bobbing about on the Aln estuary, where raised decking makes the most of the views. Just across the road from the cottage is a lovely path called ‘Lovers Walk’ which follows alongside the estuary to the beautiful beach (but dog-owners do be aware of the currents around the estuary), and views out to Coquet Island. The village is home to several pubs and restaurants, a great deli and there’s a popular golf course here too. Walk north to Boulmer for a pint at the Fishing Boat Inn, or south to the pretty village of Warkworth with its medieval castle and famous hermit’s cave. In the village itself, The Whittling House serves great food (and cocktails), the Red Lion has a sun-filled beer garden stretching down to the river, and pre-order piping hot fish and chips from the Hope & Anchor to takeaway and devour as you watch the sunset.
Summer in Polzeath can be busy, but this shiny new house is as close to the beach as you can get, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the sea and surf. Huge beach-front windows make the most of the ocean views and the four floors mean cool, contemporary beach-side living in hotel-style accommodation, whilst the upside-down layout means breakfast and lunch are taken with panoramic views of the surfers in the bay, and the west-facing terrace (and cushion-filled sky hammock) mean you can enjoy a sundowner as you watch the sun drop into the sea. The four-bedroom space is chic but practically designed with a very useful boot room for wellies, storage for boogie boards, outdoor heated showers to get rid of the sand, covered parking and it even has its own cocktail bar. Step outside and you’re on the beach, which there’s no getting away from is very busy in summer, but go out of season and you can enjoy the sand, the rocky coves and coastal walks in relative peace. Don’t want to cook? Nearby Surfside is where to go for finger-licking seafood and buckets of fresh oysters, and Rock and Padstow with their well-known restaurants are just around the bay.
Saffron Tower, Anglesey
Not exactly your usual beach house, this fairytale folly is tucked away in a secluded walled garden, sheltered from the coastal breeze blowing in over Anglesey bay. The idyllic Saffron Tower’s walled garden traps the sun throughout the year, making it the perfect spot for al fresco picnics, but beyond the boundaries, Anglesey’s coastline promises secret beaches, coastal walks and castle ruins whilst a strategically placed hot tub facing the sea is, of course, the place to watch the sun set on the day. Once a resting stop for monks visiting the nearby Penmon Priory, and now a luxury romantic retreat for two, there’s just one double bedroom here but guests have use of a heated indoor pool, a hot tub, sauna and gym. Enjoy a morning coffee overlooking the sea and garden from the kitchen balcony before heading out to explore or heading down to doze on the garden loungers. For keen cyclists there are miles of paths, keen fishers can catch supper in the bay and cold water swimmers can enjoy the bracing water year-round. Not into fish suppers? The nearby Ye Olde Bull’s Head Inn is a 400-year-old coaching house, and now a gastro pub where you’ll find great food, cocktails and fine wines.